Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quarter 1 Reflection: After my "MEA" break

So my planned MEA break to reassess our school plans didn't go as planned.  But then, I should have realized that.  One of the challenges we have been having this year is that things too often don't go as planned.  Why should my break week be any different?

Well, we've had a bountiful crop of apples this year.  It would be such a shame to let those go to waste.  We've given many apples away, but we also had 48 canning jars sitting in the kitchen waiting to be used for applesauce.  The "plan" was for the high school kids to continue working while the elementary age kids and I took a break from schoolwork.  They would do a lot of the canning, I would do a lot of the planning.   The kids are great, I could not have gotten that much done without them.  But they could not have gotten that much done without me either.  At first my planning to a backseat to canning and my thoughts turned to anger.  Seriously....how am I supposed to get anything done!  But now I think it was providence. 

I am a scheduler.  I like to move things around and make everything fit into our nice tidy little day.  I use the ideas from Managers of their Homes but do it all in my spreadsheets instead.  I've done it this way for years. I did get some time on Monday to work through things and decided we would have to start 90 minutes earlier and reshuffle a lot of things to get everything done.  Yeah....until I can find a way to get my K and 3rd grader to bed 90 minutes earlier....I don't think that's a smart plan.  Instead, while canning applesauce, I mulled it all over, and talked with a few friends, and did a lot more  mulling it over.

I redid the kids' schedules and told them all that I was going to try something brand new and we would do it for TWO weeks even if we didn't like it...because ONE week might not be enough time to really check it out.  You would think after homeschooling for 15 years that I would have seen the beauty in this....instead if always made me run.  I stuck with my old color scheme on their schedules (black - do it alone, red - do it with Mom, blue - do it as a family).  And this time I put the black items on top of the  list....so they didn't seem like an after thought that I wasn't really all that concerned about.  Now, in the morning everyone starts their solo work while I work with my Kindergartner.  When he's done he gets to play with his 23 mo old sister and I move on to work with the 3rd grader.  I just keep moving up the line.  If they get done with their solo work early they are to do their chores or ask me what they can help with - it's not play time yet.  (This has kept everyone on track - anyone else have the problem of going off somewhere quiet to give a reading lesson only to find out one older child (correctly) went to help the little ones with something and the next thing you know everyone is playing with the little ones???)  This has also helped with timing.   If I get pulled away because Abigail just needs her mamma, or someone gets hurt, etc. that isn't "infringing" on someone's time.  My kids get frustrated (and rightly so) when I have to step away from my 20 minute reading time with them or something to go attend to something else.  Hmmm...do I come back to them and push everyone else back, do we push back lunch, etc.  (wouldn't be so bad if this just happened once a day ;)  )  But now they know I will help them next.  If I get interrupted by something else, they know I am coming back and will help them when I am done.

No, this isn't perfect.  I do need to somehow squeeze my 10th grader into the mornings since he's usually gone for a few hours most afternoons.  My 6th grader has needed to be flexible because sometimes he gets helped before lunch and sometimes after.  My 9th grader has the afternoon naptime slot with fewer interruptions - which is really ideal for her, but she's gone 2 days a week at that time.  The 3 younger students always get done in the morning.  Monday afternoon is history, Tuesday afternoon is science, Wed afternoon is writing instruction, Thurs is temporarily busy with Lego League, and Friday afternoon is dedicated to time with the high schoolers.  Religion is floating at this point - but will settle into Thurs. 

So, my break started out looking bleak and frustrating.....my break was supposed to be time for me to reassess!  The apple canning turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I didn't have time to write, but I had time to think.

Hope this works out.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Makes my mind spin - I run out of time for my five. We're not getting to everything all of the time, but most things most of the time. Not sure how we get it done - on paper it doesn't seem possible!